Live Review: yelawolf briggs the havknotz metro theatre

3 April 2012 | 7:29 am | Ava Nirui

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White boy rap can go both ways. If successfully executed it can be vitriolic, refreshing, socially intuitive and relevant, as seen in Atmosphere's God Loves Ugly record or Eminem's Marshall Mathers LP. Unfortunately however, more often that not, white boy rap is seen as the bane of hip hop's foundation, being filled with forced vocals and sloppy rhymes as well as vacant and trivial lyricism. This contrived 21st century-oriented genre attempts to adopt the key concepts embodied in fundamental hip hop but cannot quite grasp such techniques efficaciously. Alabama-based prodigy of Shady Records, Yelawolf is a prime example of the perversity of whites spoiling the roots of rap music through a lack of understanding of the basis of the genre. As a galling amalgamation of Busta Rhymes, Eminem and Lil Wayne's most potent weaknesses, Yelawolf 'claims' inspiration from OG '90s hip hop pioneers Mobb Deep and Eazy E, yet inevitably fails to possess the same intentions.

Providing a promising start to the evening though was warm-up DJ Victor Lopez, who amped the crowd with '80s and '90s funk and hip hop classics from artists such as Dr Dre, Big L and Ice Cube. Shortly following was Aussie rap duo The Havknotz and later Briggs, who both delivered forgettable and cringe-worthy rhymes to the unenthused audience members. Pacing around the stage, The Havknots demonstrated a demise of 'bad attitude', however lacked conviction or confidence in their vocal delivery.

Jumping onstage fashionably late, Yelawolf grasped a bottle of Jack Daniels and spat the uncomfortably syncopated rhymes of Daddy's Lambo into the microphone against an overproduced instrumental, which was being consistently 'scratched' and wound back by the house DJ. The rapper delivered incomprehensible waffle, yelling tasteless 'crowd hyping' phrases in between his poorly constructed set. Flaunting his absurdly speedy rhymes, Trunk Muzik was a three-minute wimpy mash-up of inaudible lyrics, tacky chants and heavily-synthesised backings, with the speed of Yelawolf's rhymes failing to compensate for the sub-par quality of the actual music.

It became slowly more and more obvious that Yelawolf falls smack bang in the category of overly manufactured popular 21st century hip hop and r'n'b like artists such as Chris Brown, Trey Songz and Akon, with the crowd being uninspired by rare references to Wu Tang Clan and other significant shapers of the hip hop genre. Although in Growin' Up In The Gutter Yelawolf tries to assert how 'hood' his life was before sudden wealth and success, adhering to a commonly 'ghetto' trend frequent in modern hip hop, the lyrics were laughable, as was this artist's attitude to the music. Overall, the audience involvement was limited apart from an occasional intermittent comment about how much Yelawolf 'fuckin' love(s)” the audience.

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